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Thread: Brainstorm - a distributed car install

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    Brainstorm - a distributed car install

    My install sucks. Touchscreen, pc, audio (yawn). I'm on my third pc at least and all the patching and adding has introduced a wicked ground loop that won't quit. The whole thing has got to come out and be rebuilt.

    But I don't want to put the same old boring setup back in. I want to do something different and that's where I want to brainstorm with everyone.

    I want to build a distributed system inside the car using a WiFi hotspot to connect as much stuff as possible. At the heart of the system, I plan using a sheeva plug Linux computer. This plug has no video output but it has USB port and an ethernet connection.

    I want to use the plug to connect to the gps, the obii port on the car, and to an external USB drive with the music stored on it. I'll also keep the gps and obdii data on it.

    One thing I'll need to figure out is whether I can run a media server on the sheeva to serve the music up. Right now, I'm able to access all of my music on a home computer using a program called dot.tunes that streams the songs to my iPhone. I'd like something like that for the sheeva.

    For display, I'd like to use my iPad. Either I will see about using a web page served up from the plug or if necessary, may have to program a front end app. I'll stream the music to the hu via a Bluetooth dongle I've got. I'd replace the hu with an amp but it's a vw monsoon system that would be a pain to replace.

    Internet connectivity would be via MyWii that allows tethering using the iPhone as a hotspot.

    That's the plan for now, at least. Suggestions are appreciated, particularly on the software side.

    [Update: Progress so far]
    1. Installed Mediatomb, a upnp player on the Sheeva Plug without incident. The plug is now available to any upnp PC on the network. App for iPad/iPhone tested for audio. Wireless streaming to a 'head' unit of either iPhone or iPad is now possible and Bluetooth connectivity to stereo will enable wireless audio.

    2. Hacked dash to bits. Prototype cradle made for iPad screen, working on fab.

    3. Rebuilt the iBug computer to integrate Sheeva plug, built power distribution box, converted Sheeva to 5 volt DC power, converted Apple Time Capsule to 5v/12v dc power.
    Quote Originally Posted by ghettocruzer View Post
    I was gung ho on building a PC [until] just recently. However, between my new phone having internet and GPS and all...and this kit...Im starting to have trouble justfiying it haha.
    Want to:
    -Find out about the new iBug iPad install?
    -Find out about carPC's in just 5 minutes? View the Car PC 101 video

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    Make sure your bluetooth dongle supports A2DP or it will not transmit stereo audio.
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  3. #3
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    Thanks. The dongle is currently in use with my iPhone install and works great. I have to mod it so that it is powered by the car battery but beyond that it will work fine.
    Quote Originally Posted by ghettocruzer View Post
    I was gung ho on building a PC [until] just recently. However, between my new phone having internet and GPS and all...and this kit...Im starting to have trouble justfiying it haha.
    Want to:
    -Find out about the new iBug iPad install?
    -Find out about carPC's in just 5 minutes? View the Car PC 101 video

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    MySQL Error soundman98's Avatar
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    not sure how much it helps, but i read somewhere that someone made a driver for the sheeva plug to use a usb touch screen..

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    Assuming the ipad follows any standard (and thats a big if)...theres a few different media players for linux that can push a music library.

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    I've been thinking about this very thing. My setup will be quite a bit different than yours, but wanting to accomplish the same. I would like multiple low power devices for different duties, I'll be starting on it probably the end of June.

    I'm interested to see what you come up with for the sheeva plug and serving music. I thought about going the uPnP route and Twonky, but now I'm thinking I may want a box that plays the music locally but is controlled remotely similar to the way XBMCs remote control works over http.

    This is really just a long winded way of saying... subscribed.
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    Variable Bitrate red_parchel's Avatar
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    Tidder brings up a good point, can you toss xbmc on your Sheeva? and then use the web interface? i believe the ARM support is in its infancy but since you're not looking for video streaming [ATM] it should be good, although it could be a bit of [disk space] over kill, but the web interface can be browsed via your ipad and should stream music to your box via w/e audio "card" you set up.

    I've also been using a nice project called Ampache at home that is a web based jukebox, might be cool

    This is really just a long winded way of saying... subscribed
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    I've personally used mediatomb with great success.

    If you want to spring for it, there's a new sheevaplug lined up, same form factor as your current one, but with an HDMI port and a couple extra USB ports. GuruPlug Display. They have a bunch of other models under the guruplug moniker that might also be good for you.

    I want to use the plug to connect to the gps, the obii port on the car, and to an external USB drive with the music stored on it. I'll also keep the gps and obdii data on it.
    Call it an educated guess, I suspect that'll work pretty well :-)

    Gary (-;
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    Thanks, guys. So ampache or mediatomb sound like two possibilities for now. I'd rather not mess around with xbmc unless it is a little farther along.

    So, to run them on the Sheeva, I'll need to download the source and compile them, no?

    1. Ampache - runs on apache server using sql and php. You can access it via web pages it serves up. There is an iphone app you can use to access it as well. It appears that Ampache streams music rather than transcoding it.

    2. Mediatomb - not as clear as Ampache but I found a section that says it runs on the ARM processor. It also serves up via web pages for playback and streams rather than transcodes.

    I'm not sure I understand what upnp has to do with it, though? Isn't that some kind of standard to allow devices to find each other on the network?
    Quote Originally Posted by ghettocruzer View Post
    I was gung ho on building a PC [until] just recently. However, between my new phone having internet and GPS and all...and this kit...Im starting to have trouble justfiying it haha.
    Want to:
    -Find out about the new iBug iPad install?
    -Find out about carPC's in just 5 minutes? View the Car PC 101 video

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bugbyte View Post
    I'm not sure I understand what upnp has to do with it, though? Isn't that some kind of standard to allow devices to find each other on the network?
    Upnp is universal plug and play. Its supposed to be a cross-platform way for devices to advertise themselves and the services they offer on the network. On top of that is the upnp av layer which allows your devices to act as media servers, media playback devices, etc. It handles all the streaming, control and browsing in a standardized way. Its used by most of the major players and even household devices like tivos.

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